Did you know your brain is wired to be suspicious and expect the worse? This served us well in terms of the survival of the species, but it doesn’t work so well if you are trying to minimize the amount of stress and worry in your life. Luckily, within our same brains, we have neurocircuitry dedicated to the feelings of peace, contentment, and joy. This reminds me of a story from the Elizabeth Berg’s novel, The Year of Pleasures. In it, a Navajo grandfather once told his grandson, “Two wolves live inside me. One is the bad wolf, full of greed and laziness, full of anger and jealousy and regret. The other is the good wolf, full of joy and compassion and willingness and a great love for the world. All the time, these wolves are fighting inside me.” “But grandfather,” the boy asked, “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather answered, “The one I choose to feed.”
With our weekly challenges, we will attempt to “feed the joyful wolf.” We will try simple tasks, reflections, and occasional yoga practices to counterbalance the brain’s negativity bias and make a more positive outlook the new normal. Some challenges will be a few minutes long, others will involve simply looking at your hurdles in a new light, and others will be full-length yoga practices—you get to pick what fits into your life right now. These small steps have the potential to shift how your brain responds to obstacles and rewire it to experience the world from a more calm and happy place. Are you up for a challenge?